The NBA regular season is nearing an end and the playoffs are right around the corner. Sonics Rising will be here with you until the end!! Let’s take a fun look at some interesting things I discovered about the 2017-2018 NBA season!!
Best Games to Watch this Week
Monday April 9, 2018: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets. Denver is still fighting for that final playoff spot in the West. Portland has already clinched a playoff spot but wants to win the Northwest Division. This should be a good one for sure.
Tuesday April 10, 2018: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards. Washington still has a chance to win the Southeast. Despite a rash of injuries the Celtics are hanging on for dear life to the second seed in the East. This should be a great game on Tuesday.
Wednesday April 11, 2018: Denver at Minnesota Timberwolves. This could come down to the winner making the playoffs and the loser going fishing. At least the T-Wolves has Jimmy Butler back. This could be a blood bath to finish the regular season.
Ten Fun Facts from the 2017-2018 NBA Season
1). An average of 20,672 Chicago Bulls fans watched 41 of their teams home games. That has them slightly edging out the Cleveland Cavaliers (20,562) and Philadelphia 76ers (20,549). Ironically the home cooking didn’t help much as the Bulls stumbled to a 17-22 record at home and the only team of the three with a losing record at home.
2). On the flip side the team with the worst average home attendance were the Atlanta Hawks (14,277) followed closely by the Brooklyn Nets (15,801) and Indiana Pacers (15,845). Guess Pacers fans weren’t all that interested in watching a winning team were they?
3). What teams do fans like to watch on the road? Golden State leads the pack (19,080) followed by Oklahoma City Thunder (18,911), Cleveland (18,893), Los Angeles Lakers (18,792) and Boston Celtics (18,624).
4). Least favorite road teams include the Utah Jazz (17,084), Dallas Mavericks (17,173), Brooklyn (17,236), Sacramento Kings (17,370) and Phoenix Suns (17,400). Outside of the Jazz I wouldn’t pay to see those other dumpster fire franchises either.
5). What do the Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets have in common? They led the NBA with most wins (6) without trailing. The Thunder had five wins without trailing followed by the Washington Wizards, Indiana, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia with four wins each.
6). The Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks each had ZERO wins without trailing this season. Did that surprise you about the Raptors?
7). The Houston Rockets led the NBA with 19 four point plays. They were followed by the Charlotte Hornets (12), Brooklyn (11), Toronto (10) and the Denver Nuggets (10). That makes sense about the Rockets as they shoot more triples than anyone.
8). Teams with the least four point plays are the Detroit Pistons (0), Los Angeles Clippers (1), Thunder (1), Phoenix (1) and Memphis (2). No surprises as none of those teams are three for you and two for me type of teams.
9). What teams had the best opponent True Shooting Percentage? Boston (53), Golden State (53.4), San Antonio Spurs (53.6), Philadelphia (53.7) Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers (53.9). It’s no surprise all these teams except for the Spurs have clinched a playoff spot.
10). Teams with the worst opponent True Shooting Percentage include Sacramento (58.2), Minnesota (57.4), Atlanta (57.2), Phoenix (57.1) and Chicago (57.1). This is a big part of why the Timberwolves might miss the playoffs and puts an exclamation point on why I think Jimmy Butler should be an MVP candidate.
KIA NBA Sixth Man of the Year Candidates
It’s probably going to be Clippers guard Louis Williams or Hornets guard Eric Gordon. It’s hard to argue against either. There are at least three young fellas who won’t win but should get at the very least one vote.
Jordan Clarkson: The misconception was Lonzo Ball took his job in Los Angeles. The reality is Clarkson was being groomed to be a sixth man. They didn’t see him as the future and traded him to Cleveland. Clarkson has come off the bench in all but two of his 78 games played and the numbers have been solid. Averaging over 13 points per game off the bench for not one but two teams tells me this kid may one day be Sixth Man of the Year. His defensive numbers improved in LA but took a dip in Cleveland and since defense isn’t something the Cavaliers care about we shouldn’t either. He won’t win this year but how about at least a vote or two?
Fred VanVleet: Most people can’t get his name right but everyone in White Vegas knows who this cat is. VanVleet has established himself as an important cog in the Raptors wheel. VanVleet is also the main reason the Raptors have the best bench in the NBA. The second year guard from Wichita State is knocking down 42 percent of his triples and raised his numbers in every scoring category. VanVleet doesn’t just play offense; his positive 2.2 defensive box plus/minus suggests he gets things done on the defensive end. He won’t win the award but if he doesn’t get at least a couple of votes these voters don’t watch basketball.
Will Barton: I would bet a box of donuts Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey would love to get a mulligan after trading Barton to the Nuggets for Aaron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. Since then Barton has been thrilling Nuggets fans off the bench and is having his best season ever. Barton has the highest Value over Replacement (VORP) of his career and his 5.7 win shares are also a career best. He’s at or above all of his career highs with lowest Usage (20 percent) of his Nuggets and NBA career. Barton has been remarkable and should receive some votes for the outstanding season he’s had.
The Hottest NBA Playoff Teams as of April 6, 2018
There’s no time like now for NBA teams to get hot. Here are the hottest teams as we head to the playoffs.
Philadelphia has won 12 straight and let me tell you something; if you haven’t watched these young fellas do their thing you are missing out. During this streak the 76ers are also ranked number one in defensive efficiency. They are winning with and without Joel Embiid and they are going to be dangerous come playoff time.
Just when they wrote off the Cavaliers they win nine of their last ten and are looking good doing it. Kevin Love returned and LeBron James doing LeBron things have a LOT to do with it. Over their past eleven games the Cavs have wins over Milwaukee, Toronto (twice), New Orleans and Washington with their lone loss on the road against the Heat. As ridiculous as this
cyber trash opinion is I’m of the belief the Cavaliers will reach their fourth consecutive Finals.
Houston has been rolling all season long and have won nine of their past ten. Over their past ten they are launching 43 triples a night. My goodness. The Rockets were still in the top ten in defensive efficiency during this streak and it is going to take some kind of effort for any team to knock them out of the playoffs.
Miami, Boston, Utah and Indiana deserve a mention as they’ve won seven of their past ten. And good on them to.
The Coldest NBA Playoff Teams as of April 6, 2018
These teams had better look to get their selves going or it will be an early exit for them.
The Wizards have lost seven of their past 10 games. The offense is sputtering, the defense is lagging and losing to lottery teams Detroit, New York and Chicago can’t be good for team morale. This is the Wizards we know so well.
Minnesota has dropped six of their last 10 and hopefully the return of Jimmy Butler lights a fire under their asses otherwise they are going to miss the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season.
Golden State, Portland, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are struggling with five and five records. I don’t see these teams winning a Championship this season.
Mike Budenholzer and or Doc Rivers to the Milwaukee Bucks?
That’s the rumor. Whether it’s true or not is another story altogether.
Once upon a time Budenholzer and Rivers both were President of Basketball Operations as well as Head Coach. Neither are President of Basketball Operations for their respective clubs. They went from answering to very few to too many in a short amount of time.
After a successful run with their current clubs they are now more than likely the scapegoats for their teams missing the playoffs.
Both would be leaving behind a dumpster fire of their own creation; Budenholzer allowed Al Horford to walk away without any compensation whatsoever and Rivers rescued his son from lottery bust folklore by trading for him.
Neither won a Championship but Budenholzer led the Atlanta Hawks to the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. Rivers led the Los Angeles Clippers to the lottery.
Now both allegedly want to exit stage left to coach Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks?
If I were the ownership group of the Milwaukee Bucks I wouldn’t let either of these two anywhere near my team.
Doc Rivers has to be the most overrated NBA Head Coach of All Time and Budenholzer just doesn’t seem like the right fit for that team.
All things being equal Interim Head Coach Joe Prunty has done a decent job. He took over after the Bucks fired Jason Kidd and the Bucks did reach the playoffs. Maybe he should get another shot?
Some of the names mentioned in the linked article such as Rick Pitino, Jeff Van Gundy, Kevin McHale, Mark Jackson and David Fizdale seem like a bit of a stretch to me.
Former Cavs Head Coach David Blatt is available as is former Pelicans Head Coach Monty Williams. The website mentioned a bunch of names except one;
San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon.
Rarely do you hear her name come up in these conversations. For the life of me I can’t figure out why either.
Hammon is just as qualified as any of the other coaching names mentioned. At least I think she is.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason to say the least. We’ll have you covered at Sonics Rising!
Enjoy the NBA this week!